In the 35 years I’ve been working in restaurants, I have seen more than enough to scare a person out of the business. I’ve seen fires, near-fires, and explosive fire suppression systems. I’ve taken coworkers’ thumbs to the hospital for them on two separate occasions. And I’ve seen a guy slip while cleaning an oven’s… Read More
Eric Davis remembers the first time he saw the flower garden at San Quentin prison. “It [was] the only green thing in the yard,” he recalls. Last fall, the Insight Garden Program (IGP) and Oakland community gardening nonprofit Planting Justice added a little more green. An organic vegetable garden joined the flowers that were planted… Read More
A few summers ago, my filmmaking partner, Andrew Monbouquette, and I traveled over 13,000 miles to document and learn from urban farmers for our film, Growing Cities. We visited over 150 urban farms, community gardens, food projects, tilapia tanks, backyard beehives—and everything in between—in hopes of finding our own place in the “Good Food Movement.”
We were sitting in a field of sweet corn in Minnesota in the late summer of 2013. A pile of 200 husked and partially eaten ears of that same corn sat at our feet. After tasting that many ears of sweet corn in one sitting, most people would swear off the traditional flavors of summer for good. But not the two of us: A couple of graduate students studying to become classical plant breeders. Along with our collaborators, we were particularly excited that day.
By all accounts, Jude Becker is a very successful farmer. His organic, pasture-raised Becker Lane pork, is considered the best of the best. It’s for sale in several Northern California Whole Foods and at farmers’ markets in Chicago, as well as on plates in several high-end restaurants around the country. There’s even a small retail market for it in Japan.
Factory farmed chickens have it bad, but in Christopher Leonard’s new meat industry exposé The Meat Racket, it’s the farmers who get plucked. Leonard, a former agribusiness reporter for the Associated Press and now a fellow at the New American Foundation, subtitled his book The Secret Takeover of America’s Food Business, and he’s not kidding about the “secret” part. When Leonard set out to investigate how four huge companies came to more or less dictate the state of our meat supply, he ran into balky bureaucrats and fearful farmers.
Earlier this month, lawmakers in San Francisco introduced a bill that would tax sugary beverages at two cents per ounce, thereby setting off the latest big fight with Big Soda. The estimated $31 million in annual revenue would go to local health programs. Voters will decide the measure’s fate in November, with a two-thirds majority required to pass.
Today, First Lady Michelle Obama–known for her role in the Let’s Move! Campaign–announced the Food and Drug Administration’s proposed changes to The Nutrition Facts label. These are the first changes to the familiar black-and-white informational text box since its inception in 1993. And they couldn’t have arrived any sooner.
In the fields of Iowa where I grew up, organic soy and corn does indeed exist alongside genetically modified (or “GMO”) varieties. But the policy allowing so-called “coexistence” of organic and GMO crops now in place in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is one-sided and precarious at best.
More than 90 percent of the soybeans and corn grown on U.S. soil are from GMO seeds, which are modified to withstand heavy applications of herbicides and pesticides. Among those pesticides is 2,4-D, which contains the same chemical used in Agent Orange.